No survivors in Uzbek plane crash

All 37 people aboard a Uzbek passenger plane, including the top United Nations official in Uzbekistan, have died when the aircraft crashed on coming to land in thick fog in the capital of the central Asian country.

    Russian NTV footage showing the wreckage of the plane

    Uzbekistan's public prosecutor, Rashitjon Kadirov, said there were no indications that Tuesday's crash of the 28-year-old Yak-40, resulted from "terrorism", but a full investigation would be held. 

    The aircraft crashed and then burst into flames on approaching Tashkent airport, on a flight from the southern city of Termez near Uzbekistan's border with Afghanistan, at 19:27pm (14:27 GMT) on Tuesday, Kadirov said. 

    Its landing gear had apparently failed to deploy and it smashed into a concrete barrier, burst into flames and then fell into a river, he said. 

    UN official killed

    Among those killed was the UN's resident coordinator in
    Uzbekistan, Richard Conroy, 56, and US citizen Richard Penner, who headed the Tashkent office of Washington-based humanitarian organisation World Concern, Kadirov said. 

    Two Afghan citizens were also among the dead. 

    The total of five crew members and 32 passengers, including a child, died in the crash.

    Safety record

    The 28-year-old Yak-40 had clocked about 37,000 hours of flying time and was shortly due to be taken out of service, Kadirov said. 

    Yak-40s were first built in 1966 and designed for short-haul flights. They are still widely used throughout the former Soviet Union. 

    The Yak-40 has one of the best safety records of any Soviet-built plane, although the financial difficulties of many airlines in post-Soviet countries have increased reliance on aging jets.

    SOURCE: AFP


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